Many gay and bisexual men have been instrumental as AIDS activists in raising awareness about the public health impact of HIV/AIDS, shaping the HIV/AIDS research agenda and advocating that this research is well funded. In addition, gay and bisexual men catalyzed the movement to bring treatment and care to people with HIV/AIDS and to promote HIV prevention. Before the development of proven, effective therapy for HIV/AIDS, leaders in the gay and bisexual community influenced me to endorse a policy that gives people with serious illnesses access to experimental treatments, even if the individuals do not qualify for ongoing clinical trials of those treatments. This policy established by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has become a source of hope for patients with life-threatening conditions.
The third annual National Gay Men’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day on Sept. 27, 2010, marks an occasion to reflect on how profoundly HIV/AIDS has affected gay and bisexual men. It also is a fitting time to recognize how much this group has influenced the development and implementation of strategies to prevent and treat the virus and the disease.
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